CASE STUDY 7:
BodySwaps – On the use of Virtual Reality to develop soft skills in Gen Z users (Sept 2023 – Sept 2024)
Project Overview: This project aims to identify the effectiveness of VR simulations in the development of soft skills among Gen Z users.
The Challenge: New applications of VR technologies continue to emerge, however, their effectiveness in settings like soft skills development remains understudied. This project aims to provide evidence of the use of these technologies among Gen Z users.
The Solution: In collaboration with researchers from Loughborough University, the University of Westminster, and Liverpool Hope University, Dr Rodrigo Perez-Vega is leading a project that aims to test the effectiveness of these technologies.
The impact: This study will provide empirical evidence of the effectiveness of the use VR technologies to develop soft skills and will also provide recommendations to industry on how to improve this kind of technology.
CASE STUDY 6:
NHS – Royal Berkshire Hospital – Feasibility study to adopt social robots in dementia wards (2023)
Project overview: This project aims to identify barriers and enables of adoption of social robots in dementia ward in this particular hospital.
The Challenge: As an emerging technology, social robots have been currently trialled in different healthcare settings. However, there is limited understanding of the contextual elements to consider when looking at the NHS setting. This study aimed to identify enablers and barriers of adoption of this technology in healthcare settings in the UK.
The Solution: In collaboration with the R&I department, Dr Rodrigo Perez-Vega in collaboration with other researchers at the University of Reading have developed a research protocol to first consider the views of frontline employees within the ward. A second stage study will examine the deployment of social robots in wards.
The impact: This is one of the first studies that explores the feasibility of using social robots in an NHS setting.
CASE STUDY 5:
Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) –
Social media marketing to promote British pork in Mexico (Jan – Dec 2023)
Project Overview: As a consequence of Brexit, the UK Government and other organisations like AHDB explore new opportunities for British products internationally. Mexico is the third largest consumer of pork worldwide and represented an important market where British pork is not currently sold.
The Challenge: AHDB faced the challenge that previous campaigns did not lead to engagement from the target audience (purchase departments of major wholesalers, retailers and food service).
The Solution: Dr Rodrigo Perez-Vega, in collaboration with a local market research agency developed a social media marketing plan and BTL promotional activities in trade fairs. As a consequence of our activities, a trade mission of potential importers of British pork met with producers to explore the possibility of exporting British pork to Mexico.
The Impact: AHDB has a list of potential importers that can be shared with producers to explore future collaborations.
CASE STUDY 4:
AzuraBlu’s Brand Transformation Journey with Dr Julie McFarlane (2021-2024)
Project Overview: In September 2023, AzuraBlu, a reputable commercial cleaning company, recognised the need for a significant overhaul of their branding strategy. To address this challenge and position themselves for success in a competitive market, they enlisted the expertise of Dr Julie McFarlane. The project’s objectives were to update their existing brand strategy, formulate a revised brand identity, and establish brand guidelines that would enable AzuraBlu to thrive in a changing business landscape.
The Challenge: AzuraBlu faced the dual challenge of standing out in a fiercely competitive market and enhancing their success rate in winning bids. The rising cost of living had impacted small businesses, necessitating a strategic refresh of the brand to target broader markets effectively. The challenges were to redefine AzuraBlu’s brand identity, articulate their unique value propositions, and create a brand strategy that would set them apart in a dynamic industry.
The Solution: Dr Julie McFarlane embarked on a comprehensive analysis of AzuraBlu’s brand identity. She collaborated closely with the company’s leadership to gain insights into their mission, values, and long-term vision. The key solution was the development of a revised brand strategy that would effectively communicate AzuraBlu’s unique selling points to their target audience.
Simultaneously, Dr McFarlane crafted meticulously detailed brand guidelines and brand packets to ensure consistency in brand representation across all touchpoints. These guidelines would serve as a compass for AzuraBlu’s branding efforts, aligning them with the newly defined strategic direction.
The Impact: The collaborative efforts between Dr Julie McFarlane and AzuraBlu are ongoing, with early signs of positive impact:
1. Enhanced Brand Identity: AzuraBlu is in the process of redefining its brand identity, guided by the insights and strategies developed in collaboration with Dr McFarlane.
2. Competitive Advantage: The revised brand strategy positions AzuraBlu to stand out in the competitive commercial cleaning market, emphasizing their unique strengths and value propositions.
3. Market Expansion: By targeting broader markets, AzuraBlu aims to mitigate the challenges posed by the rising cost of living and create new opportunities for growth.
4. Brand Consistency: The brand guidelines and brand packets created by Dr McFarlane ensure that AzuraBlu maintains a consistent and cohesive brand image across all communications.
Conclusion: The partnership between AzuraBlu and Dr Julie McFarlane represents a commitment to adapt and thrive in a changing business environment. By redefining their brand strategy, AzuraBlu is positioning itself for future success, distinguishing itself in a competitive market, and expanding its reach. This case study underscores the importance of strategic branding in navigating challenges.
CASE STUDY 3:
Revolutionizing International Education with ZOOM Abroad
Background: In November 2022, Dr Julie McFarlane, embarked on an impactful consulting project with ZOOM Abroad, to develop a series of customised courses designed to create a 2+1 degree program. ZOOM Abroad aspired to expand its offerings to include accredited programs and foster collaborations with esteemed Indian and UKHEIs
About ZOOM Abroad: ZOOM Abroad is an innovative EdTech organization that has set its sights on becoming a premier platform for career counselling and global recruitment of international students. At the heart of their success lies a vibrant community of advisors, educators, and international students, collectively working to provide aspiring learners with extraordinary experiences. With a robust community comprising over 50,000 students, ZOOM Abroad is unwavering in its commitment to helping individuals find their “best fit” in international education.
The Challenge: ZOOM Abroad recognized the evolving landscape of international education and the growing demand for innovative, accredited programs that bridge the gap between various higher education systems. The challenge was to develop a 2+1 degree program that not only met these demands but also fostered partnerships with Indian and UKHEIs. Dr Julie McFarlane was brought on board to address the curriculum development challenge.
The Solution: Dr Julie McFarlane, leveraging her expertise and experience, worked closely with the ZOOM Abroad team to design a series of customised courses tailored to create a 2+1 degree program. These courses were meticulously crafted to align with the evolving needs of international students and the requirements of partnering HEIs in India and the UK.
Outcome and Impact: The collaboration between Dr Julie McFarlane and ZOOM Abroad is ongoing but has yielded significant outcomes:
1. Innovative Program Development: The creation of the first year, of a 2+1 degree program, offering a unique pathway for students seeking globally recognised qualifications.
2. Partnership Opportunities: The project paved the way for strategic collaborations with Indian and UK HEIs, expanding ZOOM Abroad’s reach and influence in the industry.
Conclusion: The consulting engagement between Dr Julie McFarlane and ZOOM Abroad exemplifies the potential for transformation in the international education sector. By harnessing expertise and innovation, ZOOM Abroad is poised to offer aspiring students a unique educational journey. This case is an example of AEE’s commitment to excellence, adaptability to industry changes, and dedication to empowering students worldwide on their path to fulfilling careers.
CASE STUDY 2:
Strathclyde University – Spin-out Process Clarification and Investment Facilitation (2022)
Project Overview: In June 2022, AEE’s founder Dr Julie McFarlane was engaged by Strathclyde University’s Technology Transfer Office (TTO) to collaborate with academics on a mission to streamline the spin-out process and provide invaluable assistance to those in pursuit of investment for funding rounds.
The Challenge: Strathclyde University recognized the need to enhance the spin-out process and equip academics with the tools and guidance required to successfully navigate the intricacies of entrepreneurship. Additionally, they sought assistance in securing vital investments to support the growth of innovative ventures.
The Solution: Dr Julie McFarlane brought her wealth of experience to the project, working closely with academics at Strathclyde University. Together, they devised a comprehensive strategy to simplify the spin-out process, making it more accessible and efficient. This involved clarifying each step, from ideation to execution, to empower academics to bring their innovations to market effectively.
Furthermore, Dr McFarlane played a pivotal role in facilitating the funding journey. She provided invaluable insights into the investment landscape, helping academics prepare compelling pitches and navigate the intricacies of funding rounds. Her mentorship and guidance were instrumental in increasing their chances of securing essential investments.
The Impact: The collaboration with Dr Julie McFarlane significantly improved the spin-out process at Strathclyde University. Academics gained clarity and confidence in bringing their innovations to market, contributing to the university’s reputation as a hub for entrepreneurship.
Moreover, Dr McFarlane’s guidance in investment facilitation proved invaluable, as academics successfully navigated funding rounds and secured the resources necessary to advance their groundbreaking projects. The partnership with Dr Julie McFarlane underscored Strathclyde University’s commitment to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship within its academic community, leading to impactful outcomes for both academics and the university as a whole. link to the Institutions start-up school for academics.